January 26, 2006

Everquest 2 : Trial of the Isle - Fighter and Scout

Everquest 2 is a beautiful game graphically if your computer can handle it. I am fortunate enough to have recently upgraded to a top end rig that can handle the highest settings possible in EQ2. Yes you heard that right; I run EQ2 at Extreme Quality. The game runs perfectly for me and the initial tutorial on the ship at sea is quite impressive.

Still some animations seem to stutter and monsters seem to skip (especially the first set of goblins you are tasked to kill) accross the land if they are moving fast. This is something I experienced the last time I played the game and it doesn't detract from the game overall. I've eliminated it being a graphics related slow down because it happens even on lower graphics settings.

I had previously claimed that EQ2 avatars are equivelant to barbie dolls. This still holds true and is highlighted by most of the elf and human related races. I don't know what they were thinking on some of the more human races, but there is so many hair sets that look like shiny plastic!

However, I will admit that some of the more exoctic races look surprisngly good. Also the Erudite with their darker skin tones and Glpyhs look very good. The plastic feel doesn't really come off on these exotic races I guess because of the darker skin tones and more colorful skin patterns.

Fighter - My first character to play was an Erudite fighter. I wanted to start out with a strong and straight forward class. Fighters are exactly that. The first noticeable improvement I found was the run speed was significantly increased on all classes. So much so that I actually think it is too fast, but that is easily forgiven when you are getting from point A to point B in reasonable time periods.

The fighter is definately dominant on the starter island. There was literally nothing that challenged me that much. I could swath through pairs of equally challenging opponents with little fear of death. My only death came from an unfortunate invisible goblin patrol that hid underneath a bridge.

The basic fighter Heroic Opportunity doesn't look like a fighter attack you would find in most MMORPGs, but it was still very pleasing to the eye. After a bit of trial and error I mastered the actions required to perform it which made me feel good. The only downside I found though was that the HO wasn't much better than just performing my base attacks and often times the monsters died before I had the chance to complete the HO. I assume this is because of the fact these are newbie monsters.

Scout - I chose Wood Elf for my scout because I wanted to see if the plastic hairstyles could be lost in game against the background graphics. Unfortunately they look like plastic in game just like at the character creation screen.

Knowing the layout of the isle better I was able to smoke through the quest lines and to my surprise they were different than the fighter quests. A definate plus. Aiding me in the travel is the pathfinding skill for scouts. It is only an increase of 16%, but it made me feel like I was flying through the isle. I didn't time it, but it didn't seem to take more than a minute to run from end to end of the island.

Scouts also get stealth which really doesn't slow you down that much. I felt like a stealthed bomb waiting to go off as most of my ambush attacks took out most lower level opponents and some equal level enemies in a single shot. Unfortunately this means that completing my scout HO was almost impossible.

I quit after discovering the main cave on the island because no one was around to group for the final encounter. Sad, but I understand that there isn't many newbies around to play with during the daytime hours.

Next up is the priest and mage if I feel like it. While not wow'd off my feet I was amused with the game. I doubt I could get over the seemingly "off" flow of combat and the skippy movement to play further. Yet, I would still highly recommend playing at least the Trial of the Isle as it is free!